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Sunday, October 29, 2006

My Two Cents: Tips for Buying a Winter Coat

"All clothes are a form of armor, but a winter coat most of wear it constantly--it actually puts its arms around you in the morning, noon and night. My soul is in coats."--Isaac Mizrahi

Isaac (we're on a first name basis) was talking about how a coat is a justified luxury... I couldn't agree more. While it'd be great to find a coat on sale, know that it's definitely worth it to invest a signif amount on a sophisticated, tailored coat. You wear it all the time and it makes an impression on everyone who sees you!

I speak to fashion experts all the time, and from their mouths to your are a few tips for buying wool coats:
1. Buy a classic cut that you can wear into next season. You can get a little saucier than the typical double breasted peacoat with a traditional military style coat, like this $300 coat by DKNY (

2. Make sure the wool is weighty so that it doesn't wrinkle. Stylist Kendall Farr once told me this tip: take a handful of fabric and squeeze for 30 seconds. If it looks rumpled, so will you.
3. Make sure it fits. Meaning, make sure it fits over your bust, and try to bring a sweater or two with you to make sure it can fit over multiple layers.
4. Look at the silhouette. Most women want to achieve a sort of hourglass shape. This can easily be achieved if the coat you buy has a belt at the waist, like this $260 coat by Via Spiga (

5.Buy a neutral color; I'd vote for black, grey, or brown because it can conceal dirt, smog, and stains. This $325 J.Crew coat is cute (

J.Crew has stepped their game up in recent years (a J.Crew coat is featured in October's Vogue right next to a $3,000 Philosphy di Alberta Ferretti coat and a $4,000 Libertine coat)...I'd recommend getting a J.Crew coat with Thinsulate...the extra warmth helps. Also great about J.Crew...if you can wait, everything goes on sale in late Dec, early January...

Moving along...

Down coats can be a lot less expensive than wool, and any range of prices will keep you just as warm. The only difference, in my experience, between a cheaper coat and an expensive one is the amount of feathers left on your clothes after you take the coat off. Inexpensive coats tend to leave you looking like a bird; expensive ones hold up better.

The North Face is notorious for making coats that'll keep you warm and toasty.

This $280 Metropolis coat was super popular in New York last season:

And this $300 Triple C coat was popular as well (Halle Berry has this coat):

The North Face makes sports coats that people use to go skiing and scaling mountains, so it'll definitely keep you warm in frigid weather. They've also become extremely stylish lately with belted styles, etc. They definitely marry fashion and function.

Another great brand: Moncler. They make great sport level coats as well, but they're coats are free of labels and are tres chic. For that reason, they are EXPENSIVE! This coat is an appalling $930 at Saks:

This one is $945. Right.

Surprisingly, you can almost never find these on sale (not even on ebay). They mix warmth without looking bulky, and they're classy enough to wear to dressy events. I've been drooling over Moncler's forevor. Know that ladies who lunch in New York buy Moncler's full price from Bloomingdales, and pickings are slim when sales time comes around.

Good picks for inexpensive down:

This Michael Kors coat is $158 at

My coworker is from New York and rocks this, no problem.

This Marc NY coat is $178, also at

I won't be able to search for a coat until this wknd... I'll let you know what I find!



val said...

I just encountered the brand Moncler last weekend! Woke up early to hit the Housing Works thrift sale you blogged about (really wanted the vintage bags and ruffled top. Missed the bags but caught the blouse from just under the nose of a vulture no less). Figured since I was in the lower east side vicinity and i live in riverdale, might as well check out Gabay's Outlet. Have you heard of it? They had a ton of Moncler jackets (a lot with patterns) that were several hundred dollars. I remember thinking they seemed really expensive, but realize now that's a deal compared to $930! My goodness. They had Chloe and Mulberry bags, prada shoes for $150. manolo blahnik, marc jacobs, jimmy choo. coats, some clothing but mostly shoes. A lot of high-end designers you would find at Bergdorf's, Saks and Neiman Marcus for a fraction of their prices. Still way out of my price range, but a jewel for the lucky gals who can afford it!

Anonymous said...

I love the winter season! It's a time when you can accessorize like crazy! Between gloves, hats, boots, and coats it is a time to show off your individual style! I have to agree with you about northface jackets! I have one myself and I love it! However, I have just recently stumbled upon a Tryst belted rabbit fur jacket that is a gorgeous! I believe that this jacket can, without a doubt, spice up your winter wardrobe. ( and keep you nice and toasty! )

Anonymous said...

just moved from l.a. to chicago. good article on coats. do you have any tips on chicago shopping? said...

Get more branded jackets and coats at

Anonymous said...

Wonderful collection!! I also bought very nice coat by using Gap promo codes through love my coat!!